In honor of raising awareness for breast cancer this month, I feel compelled to share a story. After teaching a class recently, a student walked over to me to say thanks and that she really enjoyed it – she then told me she has stage-4 breast cancer. I was shocked and couldn’t get it off my mind all day. My class is very intense and she always gives 110%. I decided to go home and do some research that night. Her body has a disease that can fight to take her life. Turns out, she is one of the incredible women who is fighting back.
According to the American Cancer Society, multiple studies have proven the positive effects of patients with breast cancer who exercise. This study has been conducted with many different diseases and most have the same outcome. As long as a person is able and willing to exercise, it can help to enhance their quality of life significantly. The relationship between physical activity and breast cancer incidence has been extensively studied, over 60 studies though out the world. Most studies indicate that physically active women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. High levels of physically activity during adolescence may be especially protective. A lifetime of physical activity is thought to be the greatest benefit; women who increase their activity post menopause may also experience a reduced risk.
Studies suggest 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderate to high intense exercise can help reduce breast cancer risk. Physical activity may help to prevent tumor development by lowering hormone levels, particularly in premenopausal women; lowering levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors, improving the immune response.
Research from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention also shows that physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer may be beneficial in improving quality of life, reducing fatigue and assisting with energy. Both reduced physical activity and the side effects of treatment have been linked to weight gain after diagnosis. One study found that women who exercised moderately (3-5 hours per week) helped to improve survival rates compared with more sedentary women.
Not to mention breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women and takes second to lung cancer as the deadliest. Nearly 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. Which means someone you know, or even yourself will have to battle this disease. About 40,000 women will die from this invasive disease in 2014.
Here are some things you can do to fight back:
- Eat well. Although this cannot guarantee cancer prevention or treatment, it can help reduce your risk and complications if you are diagnosed. EAT PLENTY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Limit Fat. Only consume alcohol and sugar in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. This can help to lower the risk of various types of cancer as well as many other diseases.Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity.
- Rest up. Give your body the proper rest it needs. Aim for 7-8 hours per night.
- Get regular medical care. Self-checks and screenings for various types of cancers can increase your chance or early detection, which is when treatment is most likely successful.
- Help to raise awareness and support. Sign up for a national breast cancer fundraiser here: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-nbcf/nbcf-events
Take these steps into your own hands today. The reward will benefit you for the rest of your life. Let’s support each other and help to make this world a happier and healthier place. One day at a time.
Jaime is a health and fitness expert from San Francisco. Growing up in sports and dance, Jaime founded fitness/nutrition company WHEYBYJ.COM and has been recognized in SHAPE magazine as one of the top trainers of 2014. Follow Jaime at wheybyj.com and Facebook.
“In this world, we are conditioned at a very young age to work hard, be smart, take care of others, do all these things but at the end of the day the one person we seem to forget to take care of is the most important! There is no “quick fix”, it is really as simple as it sounds, DIET AND EXERCISE are the keys to wellness. I am here to be your friend, teacher and motivator while you come on a journey with me to become “a better you” There will be days that suck, times you don’t feel like it, but I promise that if you stick with me here – you will feel more energy, lose weight and educate yourself on what you need to be an overall healthy and well person”.